• Austin Brimley fishing on camping trip in Virginia
    Missing Shawn

    The Last Perfect Weekend

    Last weekend, on three of the prettiest days of the spring, I found myself back in a place that I loved. I was cabin camping with my kids and our dear friends, a trip that we’ve done every six months for many years. Tommy climbed into my lap that afternoon and I rocked him in the rocking chair on the back porch of my cabin as I chatted with my friends. The other kids explored the forest and rode their bikes. One of the guys made us a batch of margaritas, and we toasted to a great weekend. Just about then, I looked down and realized that Tommy was asleep.…

  • Austin and Tommy Brimley on their scooters during the last weekend before Shawn got sick
    Family & Friends

    There’s Only One Option, and This Is It

    My life before Shawn got sick was charmed in so many ways.  Like many other people who live privileged lives, I had only a vague sense of how perfect everything was.  Many times since Shawn has died, I’ve thought, “what was life even like before he was sick?”  So I went back to my Google calendar and tried to figure it out.  The first week in October, right before before he first started having stomach pain, my calendar was filled with things like, “Shawn on field trip with Austin,” “elementary school fall picnic,” “Claire guitar lesson,” and “dinner with friends.” God, it was so normal. Looking at my calendar led…